27 Feb 2015

NAMIBIA Day 7: Swakopmund - Walvis Bay

Today was one of the nicest days in terms of seeing a lot, but not spending hours and hours in the saddle, be it tar or battling loose sand and gravel. 

The sand dunes I have come to fall in love with!
Well .... this WAS going to be our only rest day of the entire trip, and since we had been doing greater distances and spending way longer days in the saddle than originally planned - a well deserved rest I'd say.

But this morning we were contacted by our Wild dog comrades, inviting us to have breakfast with them. We joined Johan and Louis for breakfast near the lighthouse and then Johan took us on a scenic ride to Walvis Bay. An impromptu decision made by all. A very very good one at that!
Toni and Johan standing proudly next to their similar KTM's

Taking the salt road round the back of the dunes was beautiful. I had never ridden on salt and could imagine it might be slippery when wet, but it rode like a lovely tar road. Rising high up on our right, brilliant yellow sand dunes sparkled in the stark sunlight. 

Brutus in front of the infamous Dune 7

We stopped at Dune 7, the highest one of the series of dunes we were passing. Absolutely awesome!! Just like in the fairytale pictures of the desert, even the palm trees were giving an Oasis feeling to it!

3 Friends enjoying life!
Toni is showing how close he can get to the Flamingos
I cannot believe these birds are so happy in the desert?!
From there Johan showed us the whole area where the salt was being made. In spite of being a Sunday, things were in full swing and truck loads of salt were being delivered to the conveyer belt. 
Entering the saltworks

Salt coming down from the conveyor belts

Trucks hauling salt

We rode in deeper, seeing the dams where salt was busy forming. Even pink dams! Here the crystals form that get sold in the curio shops and semi precious jewellery gets made of.

Vast dams of pink!

Toni and Johan taking a closer look at the pink dam
The first signs of crystals forming
On our way back, the Flamingos had moved to the other side of the road and with the later time of day, I thought the setting was better. Once stopped and off the bikes, we noticed a jackal scavenging through the area and sometimes getting the birds slightly unsettled when he trots into their direction. I have never seen a jackal this near and once again a wonderful experience getting so close to the birds and wildlife! 
A beautiful sight - a jackal from this close!

The sun highlighting the dunes and catching the Flamingos

Brutus has to stand his man amongst the larger 2 KTM's!!
After saying goodbye to Johan, we took a short detour to the harbour, where we ended up looking for “something to take home”. Obviously a lot of bartering was involved and the “best” deal allowed us to take a few pics of her. 

It takes them hours to get their hair this lovely
The Ovambo women don’t bath that often and by putting this clay into their hair and on their bodies they keep away unwanted elements like insects (and maybe smell?).  They would go to sleep as is and retouch it the next day if needed.
A happy smile because she got something sold!

As we left town, for more than a kilometre or two, there were lovely Palm trees on both sides of the road, almost bidding us farewell as we rode off into the sunset. Was it not for Johan, I don’t think we would have seen so much and had the experience we did. Stunning!

Once off the road, it's just sand and more sand!

We took the coastal road back to Swakopmund, with huge dunes on the right and the sea on our left. 
Coastal road between Swakop and Walvis
I was surprised at the huge amount of development of both Swakopmund and Walvis. Somehow I could see myself escaping this way - were I ever forced to leave my beloved South Africa. I am (unwisely?) guessing Swakop would not get too hot in summer because it is at the coast? It has wonderful old buildings and I loved the architecture. We ended the day with fish and chips, our first break from pasta or salticrax-with-something since we've been in Namibia. NICE.
At last something other than pasta and salticrax!
Toni never seizes to bring a giggle at the most appropriate times! Yesterday, I came across this picture! I found him perched on his bed getting his GPS sorted out.  Now that morning he was dressed in a pair of socks that almost came to his crotch! This time he was wearing the (Lady!) owner of the guest house’s dressing gown!! All mauve and feminine, cause his clothes were still in the wash and he was getting cold! Sorry Toni, I just HAD to share this pic!

Toni caught in the act wearing a sexy little number!
Johan, thanks so much for showing us your wonderful area. I loved spending my “rest day” seeing even more of the treasures this awesome country has to offer. 
Also a huge thanks to Braam and Laura from La Sirenetta  for their tons of help with future tenting options, phonecalls, extra washing powder for the road, friendliness, the lip ice that at last helped for my chapped lips! - And loaning Toni your gown Laura! :) You guys went out of your way to make our stay wonderful!
AND I got to sleep in a real bed!


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